Choosing the Right Hand-Sewing Needle – Top Tips

By Angela Daymond

There are so many different types of hand sewing needles and I am frequently asked which is the type best to use and which is the best size. Here are my top tips.

Choosing the right needle for the job can make a huge difference to your project, you want the needle and thread to glide through your work.

  1. A needle that you can thread is also essential, and the eye of your sewing needle should be larger than the thread diameter that you are using.
  2. The needle’s job is to push apart the fibres of the fabric so that the thread can travel through to the back of your work. If the needle does not make a large enough hole for the thread, then it will twist and knot on the front of your work.
  3. When you are looking at hand sewing needle sizes, for most, the higher the number means a smaller needle. For example, a size twelve quilting needle is much smaller than a size five.
  4. Chenille and tapestry needles have a different sizing system but a size twenty-six is a much smaller needle than a size 18.
  5. An oval eye is often easier to thread than a smaller round eye if you are using thick perlé thread or wool in your needle.
  6. Just like sewing machine needles, hand sewing needles do became less sharp over time so do change them regularly.
  7. The list below of different types of needles should give you all the information you need to choose a needle for your next project.

Type of needle & Information about needle

Beading needle – A long flexible needle with a sharp point and a small round eye.

Betweens needle – A short length needle with a sharp point and a round eye.

Chenille needle – A short length needle with a sharp point and a round eye.

Embroidery/crewel needle – A long needle with a sharp point and a long narrow eye.

Quilting needle – A normally short needle with a small round eye.

Sharps – An all purpose long needle with a small round eye.

Tapestry needle – A blunt pointed needle with a large oval eye.

Further information

For more information about Angela please visit her website, She can be found on Facebook as Angela Daymond Textile Artist and on Instagram as @angela_daymond.